How to Read the Air
Dinaw Mengestu reads a passage from How to Read the Air about a young Ethiopian immigrant couple who set off on a road trip in search of a new identity. (Running Time: 17:32) (Running Time: 17:32)
Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience. Now Mengestu enriches the themes that defined his debut with a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms his reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation.
One early September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, young Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their new home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Soon, their son, Jonas, will be born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas needs to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. How can he envision his future without knowing what has come before? Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today, a story -- real or invented -- that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.
About the Author:
Dinaw Mengestu: Dinaw Mengestu, the author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has written for Rolling Stone and Harper's, among other publications. In 2010, he was chosen as one of the 20 best writers under 40 by The New Yorker.